After an encounter with the Joker ends tragically, Batman returns to Gotham City. 5 years pass and there's a turf war being waged between a wealthy crime lord called the Black Mask, and another crime lord named the Red Hood. However, Red Hood also acts as a vigilante with intentions on cleaning up Gotham City, but he doesn't follow Batman's ethical code by using excessive force. His violent tactics have put him at odds with Batman. But what exactly is Red Hood after?-summary
Directed by Brandon Vietti and written by Judd Winick. Batman: Under the Red Hood is another DC direct to DVD original feature. As all of the DC animated films that came before it, this film is incredibly action packed, and features several well known faces pertaining to that main characters universe. Batman: Under the Red Hood has been on the radar of fans ever since word of it first leaked out. Therefore, the hype level was pretty high. Personally, I think the film lives up to the hype, and it should fit comfortably in quite possibly every Batman fans collection.
The film borrows heavily from two Batman storylines: A Death in the Family and Under the Hood. Fans of the comic will more than likely have an idea what's going to happen. However, despite having some knowledge of the storylines, the plot is constantly moving to keep the interest level high. Even the character interactions can be very entertaining when the action finally takes a back seat.
The first thing I noticed about the film were the visuals. The animation is not of the same anime style as Gotham Knight. It's more of the traditional Batman: The Animated Series style, which I was very glad to see. The visuals are impressive when delivering some very fluid and incredible action scenes. I mean wow, the creative juices were flowing when it came down to the combat.
The choreography at times is like poetry in motion. The battles move with such grace that small details could be missed during the hand to hand exchanges, if one doesn't have a quick eye. The action scenes also didn't contain the slightest amount of re-used cels, and the animation was still fluid during battles taking place with multiple characters. The eye candy doesn't end there. I also think the CG and 3D blended in quite well during the high speed vehicle chases. One thing is for certain, the action junkies are going to feel their money was well spent.
Normally, a great soundtrack can bring out the best in most mediocre action scenes. However, it's the reverse in this case. The top notch action scenes actually help the soundtrack. Now don't take this the wrong way, I don't exactly find the BGM which was done by Christopher Drake to be bad. But it sounds way too similar to his other works with very little variation. The artwork and character designs are very consistent, and appear to be a step up when compared to Batman/Superman: Public Enemies, and also Green Lantern: First Flight.
I'm sure someone is wondering by now, "is the action all there is to this?". Not at all, at least I don't think so. The character development and characterization are very good as well. I won't spoil the things Red Hood does. But his character is portrayed as someone who means business. In his first appearance, it's obvious he is not someone to fool around with. He caught my eye rather quickly, and I enjoyed his antics.
Casual fans who are not into the comic will probably get an idea on why Batman has such a huge following. He's by far one of the most human characters in comic books, and the way he deals with his failure is so realistic. The Joker seems to be quite different here. Unlike his usual character in the animated series, where he's depicted as being insane, as well as a clown with a sick twisted sense of humor. Here, he seems to be based off of Heath Ledger's Joker; sadistic, unpredictable, and very violent.
This is the area where some diehards will probably feel sour about the film, and it happens to be the voice acting. Now, the voice work is solid overall, but there is slight inconsistency at times that I was able to pick up, mainly concerning Batman who is voiced by Bruce Greenwood. Still, I think he does a good job. Fans of the Joker will probably miss Mark Hamill. But John DiMaggio grew on me rather quick. This version of the Joker had the sinister voice to match his actions.
I have small issues with the film. I think everything was too spelled out and predictable. It was no secret who was under the hood obviously. But I think his intentions were too easy to catch. I also noticed at least one awkward story element that had me scratch my head a bit. In addition, as good as the action scenes are, they can be a bit too highly exaggerated, with these regular people performing moves at a superhuman level.
This part isn't exactly a con for me personally, because I prefer my dark superheros to be in a dark atmosphere. But this is mainly a heads up for certain individuals. Although this is a cartoon that is based on a very popular superhero. I don't think it's child friendly at all. The dialogue can be quite violent at times along with the action. There are graphic deaths here with people being shot and blood splattered on the wall. The death scenes aren't as over the top as most anime series, but I think parents should know that it's present.
The single disk edition is very light on extras, with a first look at the Superman/Batman: Apocalypse feature. There's also a few trailers on DC animated movies. I didn't find too much here to go crazy about to be honest.
Overall, I was heavily impressed by this film. It gave me what I wanted and then some. It does have its flaws, and of course they will vary from person to person. But this is something that is staying in my collection, and DC in my view continues to dominate Marvel in the animated department. I can hardly wait for their next release. The movie has a 75 minute runtime.
-Dark and violent
-Very good sound effects
-Very predictable and too spelled out
-Not child friendly
What did you think of this review?